FERNANDO AIR BASE, Batangas: President Benigno Aquino 3rd on Wednesday stressed the need to boost the Philippine Air Force (PAF) amid the challenges the country is facing, including the territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
In his speech at the Air Force leadership turnover ceremonies here, Aquino announced the arrival of five Japanese training aircraft that will be used for patrol missions in the West Philippine Sea.
“Nakapila na rin ang pagdating ng dalawa pang C-130 ngayong taon; pati na ang pag-arkila natin mula Japan ng limang TC-90 aircraft, na tutulong naman sa Hukbong Dagat sa pagpatrolya ng teritoryo, partikular na sa West Philippine Sea [The arrival of two more C-130 planes is already scheduled for this year; so is our rental of five TC-90 aircraft from Japan],” Aquino said.
One of the C-130 transport planes from the United States will arrive next week, while another will arrive in September.
Japan and the Philippines recently signed an agreement for the transfer of defense equipment technology.
Meanwhile, newly promoted commander Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina vowed to lead the transformation of the Air Force
“Our task in this kind of environment are enormous because, like the rest of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines], we in the Air Force need to continuously change and transform for where before we use to employ traditional methods, today we must retool for asymmetric challenges,” Fallorina said in his assumption speech.
“This year is bound to see a jump in activities in our conflicted domains, particularly in the cyber and air domains and in the maritime areas,” he said without elaborating.
Fallorina, a member of Philippine Military Academy Batch 1983, replaced Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado, who relinquished his post ahead of his March 20 retirement in consideration of the election-related appointment ban that will start on Friday.